As the industry reels in the midst of the pandemic, filmmakers across the globe are wondering what the future holds for independent cinema. This hour-long panel presented by MIHFF and the Hawai'i Filmmakers Collective will unpack what it’s like getting back on set during a pandemic, and what the future might look like for filmmaking in the islands.


Gerard Elmore

Gerard is an Emmy® award winning writer/editor/producer/director who has a range of experience varying from television production, film and TV commercials winning multiple local Peles (ADDYs) & a national Gold ADDY award.

Gerard is the Lead Producer at NMG Network (, a former lecturer at the Academy for Creative Media, Manoa and West Oahu. He also serves as the Executive Director for the `Ohina Short Film Showcase,, that is designed to help local filmmakers promote and screen their films in Hawaii.

Mericia Palma Elmore

Born and raised in Texas, Mericia has been lucky to call Hawaii home since 2001. After a career as an actress, producer, professor and attorney, Mericia found a home with SAG-AFTRA as the Hawaii Local’s Executive Director.  In addition to serving on the Pacific Islanders in Communications Board, she is also the Chair of the Hawaii Film and Entertainment Board. She lives on Oahu’s beautiful windward side with her 3 kids, 3 dogs, 4 chickens and a husband.  While loving her family, serving the members of the Union, and supporting the state’s production community takes up a big chunk of her time, she finds time to feed her passion for books, gardening and searching for the best baklava.

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Roy Tijoe

Roy Tjioe is co-founder and lead creative producer of Island Film Group.  He has produced numerous independent feature films, television movies and documentaries, and is actively developing projects based on Hawaii’s unique history.  Prior to becoming a producer, he was a partner in the law firm of Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel, where he chaired the Entertainment Law Group while representing clients ranging from large studios to independent filmmakers.  On the creative side, he has acted in numerous stage and independent film productions, placed in national screenwriting competitions and worked as a professional storyboard artist.


Vera Zambonelli

Vera Zambonelli is the founder and executive director of Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking, an organization committed to achieving intersectional gender equity in filmmaking. In 2017, Vera launched Reel Wāhine of Hawaiʻi, a short doc film series that redresses gender inequity in the film industry by documenting the real-life stories of Hawai‘i women filmmakers that has recently received a NEA grant to produce Season 3. Vera teaches at the University of Hawaiʻi Academy for Creative Media West Oʻahu and Mānoa, and currently serves on the leadership committee of the Western Indie Media Arts Groups (WIMAG) co-steering the Artist Development and Media Justice working group. Vera holds a MA in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University and a PhD in Urban Planning from University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa.

This project is sponsored by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, working to improve the lives of Native Hawaiians.

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